Architecture

The good that remains in us — the parts that can still be used, not entirely lost or damaged — we build new things with them, on them, as a foundation. Somehow it makes for a sturdy whole, this reappropriation of remnants with history emblazoned on their surfaces, proclaiming how they are truly able to withstand anything. We need bits and pieces of invincibility to bless our breaking of new ground. We could never really build “from scratch”, doing so entails new equipment, imported materials, a completely different timetable.

For us, we have to evaluate our ruins first. Ask the questions, repeatedly, in search of answers, better ways to build: What caused the fall? Was it avoidable, if only we opted for durability instead of aesthetics? Weren’t we protected enough from the elements, all that we couldn’t foresee? Or did we simply erect very prematurely, and so crashed after only a few blows?

We search for evidences of foul play in this disarray, non-quality labor or a scheming contractor, but we find nothing of the sort. The blame is entirely on us.

We ask next: what can still be used? We search for pieces of metal, beautiful shards of glass, tiles that came out unscathed. All of these will make for a good story someday, mementos from the past to be used as centerpieces, having a charm surpassing that of brand new silver or porcelain jars. It’s laughable how time can trivialize loss, how such is the fate of everyone who grieves.

When the time comes to close down some road to work laboriously all hours of the day on some new showpiece, we know better than to rush. We ask for safety certifications, proof that the ground we are on is suitable to our purpose. We endure the persistent hammering of things into place, the sawing off of parts that aren’t needed anymore. It takes months, years, but what is that short period of waiting when we get a stronger edifice in return, this one truly built to last?

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2 Replies to “Architecture”

  1. this is such a beautiful essay. and profound, too. i mean the analogy between the technicalities of architecture and the complexities (and perhaps impossibilities, or possibilities) of love–it’s just beautiful.

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